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Thursday, June 30


“Its fruit looked delicious…So she…ate it.”
Ge 3:6 NLT

OVERCOMING TEMPTATION (4)

Let’s look at the first time in Scripture anyone was tempted and see what we can learn. The Bible says, “The serpent was the shrewdest of all the [creatures] the Lord God had made…he asked the woman, ‘Did God really say…?’” (v. 1 NLT). First, Satan will blind you to all the good things God has in store for you. Then he’ll take mood-altering substances like drugs or alcohol, or somebody else’s husband or wife, or Internet porn, and tell you it won’t hurt you. Don’t bite! He’s a liar! Don’t believe him! “Temptation comes from our own desires…These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters” (Jas 1:14-16 NLT). Any weakness that’s constantly indulged, excused, denied, or hidden has the power to enslave you. Failure to identify and target your weakness strengthens it. Ignoring your areas of vulnerability makes defeat inevitable. Satan has assigned certain people to feed your weaknesses. Be discerning. Your weakness will be drawn to any friendship that accepts it, enjoys it and feeds on it. It has an agenda of its own—to take over your life and sabotage God’s plan for you. It’ll always bond with the wrong people and make you uncomfortable in the presence of the right ones. And it can emerge at any time, including your latter years. So how do you overcome your weakness? Through willpower? No, through God’s power! And it’s available to you today—so reach for it!

Friday, July 1

“Your love for one another is growing.”
2Th 1:3 NLT

GROWING IN LOVE

When Paul says, “Your love for one another is growing,” it’s not the kind where life’s perfect and everybody accommodates you. God’s intention is to “grow” you into the kind of love that’s not defined by your feelings, but a sacrificial love that says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20 NIV). It’s possible to be in love with the idea of a perfect marriage, without actually loving your mate. Or the dream of what your kids could become, if only they’d follow your advice. But when it comes to loving a rebellious teen who acts like “the other side of the family,” it’s a growing process that puts your love to the test. Jesus said, “As I have loved you…you must love one another” (Jn 13:34 NIV), and He never asks us to do anything without giving us the ability to do it. So are you ready to do a little growing? Author Kristin Armstrong says: “When we’re hurt it’s common to withdraw. But the worst thing a parent can do is to withhold affection in response to a child’s behavior. A child’s heart grows when it’s nurtured with unconditional love. Affection doesn’t depend on behavior, mood or circumstances. Being pleasing does not equate to being lovable. Imagine if Jesus loved us only when we behaved perfectly. We’d never experience His affection, and consequently we’d wither away. And since Jesus is our example, we need to love others with Christlike grace. He loves us according to His capacity, not according to the degree of our merit. We must love others…not by our standards but by His.”